Waiting for a Bennington light to change, I
saw, last week, a girl lean against a woman,
both blond, standing outside a supermarket.
Mother, bent over,

asked some question (all this I saw; heard nothing).
Before the light turned, I had divined the problem.
When she lifted her face to her mother: Bingo.
It was a nosebleed.

It's still bleeding a little, the daughter answered
as we drove away. And I know the mother
bent again to offer the child a second
Kleenex and kiss her.

Green light, green hills, we're driving north, it's summer.
Law enacted fleetingly in a rear-view
mirror no less powerful for its local
interpretation:

love as rocking cradle that two can rest in,
bodies nested, cupped in one curve of shelter;
question, answer; need met as it arises.
Trouble breeds comfort.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 24 Number 9, on page 29
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